What I’m reading: A Gate at the Stairs by Lorrie Moore


“When I looked back at Sarah I saw her powdered, thinning skin like a crepe, with the same light freckles as a crepe, her gnarly-knuckled hand, arthritic from chopping herbs, going through her spiky russet hair, knocking back her scarf. How did her stand-up hair defy not just gravity but even the additional weight of a scarf? Why did my own hair always lie flat, defeated by atmospheric physics of all sorts, unimproved even by the most widely advertised of sticky gels? Education had not entirely elevated my concerns in life. It had probably not even assisted my analyses of these concerns, though that was the most I could hope for. I was too fresh from childhood. Subconsciously, my deepest brain still a cupboard of fairy tales, I suppose I believed that if a pretty woman was no longer pretty she had done something bad to deserve it. I had a young girl’s belief that this kind of negative aging would never come to me. Death would come to me–I knew this from reading British poetry. But the drying, hunching, blanching, hobbling, fading, fattening, thinning, slowing? I would just not let that happen to moi.”

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